Although temperatures rose sharply into the upper 30’s in some areas of the Oil Region by mid-morning Wednesday, some areas saw freezing rain which led to traffic tieups and collisions.
Weather experts say that a combination of sub-freezing surface temperatures, and air temperatures in the higher elevations that were still below freezing contributed to the conditions.
Problem areas included, but were not limited to portions of Route 322 in Wyattville and Maple Shade, Route 417 in Sugarcreek Borough, Dempseytown and Cherrytree Township, Deep Hollow Road and West 1st Street in the Oil City area, Rockdale Road, Route 227 and Route 66.
Numerous vehicles slid off the highway on Route 322 going through Wyattville, and on another stretch of the same highway east of Maple Shade, near Van. The intersection of Routes 417 and 428, and a stretch of Route 417 in Cherrytree Township were closed because of tractor-trailer accidents. And, a portion of Route 66 in Howe Township in Forest County was closed for a considerably lengthy period of time because of a 14-vehicle pileup. Most of the vehicles were trucks, including a fuel truck, a fire vehicle, a snow plow and at least two logging trucks. Two drivers were injured, and were transported to a hospital in Kane.
For most, the precipitation had ended before noontime, and the system was completely out of the area by early afternoon. The temperature eventually reached 45 degrees.